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Abu Hurraira (RA) reports that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked, “What prayer is most virtuous, after the obligatory prayers?” He said, “Prayer in the depths of the night.” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisaa’i, Ibn Majah]

Always sleep with the intention of getting up for Tahajjud and Fajr. We should try and pray Tahajjud every night as it is one of the best and most rewarding Nafil prayers one can possible pray and makes it possible for a person to gain the top ranks of the Jannah. If we can’t pray everyday, then we should at least pray as much as we can.

Narrated Al-Mughira: The Prophet used to stand (in the prayer) or pray till both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable prayer) and he said, “should I not be a thankful slave.” [Bukhari]

Rasulallah (ﷺ), to whom the Jannat-ul-Firdouse is guaranteed, prayed Tajajjud with long rak’ahs which caused swelling of his blessed feet. Whilst reciting Quran in Salah, Rasulallah (ﷺ) used to cry excessively and this caused a wheezing sound coming from his blessed chest as if a pot was being boiled. This is due to the fear Rasulallah (ﷺ) had of Almighty Allah. And what’s your reason for missing Tahajjud?

It is recommended to start the night prayer with two short rak’ahs, because of the hadith:

Abu Hurraira (RA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “If you get up for night prayer, start with two short rak’ahs.” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud]

Note: For Tahajjud one should read at least 2 rak’ahs up to 12 rak’ahs. This is Sunnah. However there is no limit for voluntary prayers (Nafil). One may also do a lot of Dhikrullah as well as recitation of the Quran.

The duas at the time of Tahajjud are very readily accepted by Almighty Allah and one should cry and repent to Allah during this time. If one cannot cry due to the hardness of ones heart due major sins then one should at least make a face as if one is crying. Just as a mother tends to her baby quickly and promptly when it cries then in the same way Allah tends to his servant quicker when his servant is crying and sincere.

More Hadiths about the Night Prayer:

Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked: “Which Salat is the best?” He replied, ” The best Salat is that in which Qiyam (the duration of standing) is longer.” [Muslim]

Narrated Hudhaifa:
When the Prophet (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) got up at night (for the night prayer), he used to clean his mouth. [Bukhari]

Narrated Masruq:
I asked `Aisha “What deed was the most beloved to the Prophet?” She said, “The regular constant one.” I said, “At what time did he use to get up at night (for the Tahajjud night prayer)?’ She said, “He used to get up on hearing (the crowing of) the cock (the last third of the night). [Bukhari]

The Prophet (ﷺ) performed the night prayer in pairs (i.e., Rak’ah) and made it odd number by observing one Rak’ah (as Witr). [Bukhari and Muslim]

Narrated Nafi`: Ibn `Umar said, “While the Prophet (ﷺ) was on the pulpit, a man asked him how to offer the night prayers. He replied, ‘Pray two rak`at at a time and then two and then two and so on, and if you are afraid of the dawn (the approach of the time of the Fajr prayer) pray one rak`a and that will be the witr for all the rak`at which you have offered.” Ibn `Umar said, “The last rak`at of the night prayer should be odd, for the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered it to be so. [Bukhari]

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: If the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) missed his night (Tahajjud) Salat because of indisposition or the like, he would perform twelve Rak’ah during the day. [Muslim]

Abu Salamah bin ‘Abdur-Rahman narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say concerning Ramadan: ‘Whoeve spends its nights in prayer (Qiyam) out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.” [Darussalam, Sahih]